The Internet and technology are increasingly integral in our lives.
They has reconfigured how we travel, how we think about travel, and what we expect when we embark on our next adventure.
The modern world is all about convenience; we expect things to be as quick, easy, and seamless as possible.
In 2006, The Guardian explored how the Internet transformed the way we travel. It also posed the question ‘Where will the next 15 years take us?’
Although we’re not yet to that milestone, here are the most significant ways the world of technology and convenience have changed how we travel.
Taking the Weight off Take-off
In the not-so-distant past, being a traveler literally used to carry all kinds of weight.
Even with the ordeal of planning a trip out of the way, the effort it took to pack for a trip was considerable.
Cameras, books, CDs or cassettes and a portable player, and even paper and pens used to take up a huge amount of room – with suitcases fit to burst a common sight at airports.
Now, smartphones, ebook readers, and laptops have made it easy to hop on a plane with nothing but a small bag containing a few essentials and your electronic devices of choice.
Advances in tech such as this are often designed with convenience and portability in mind, and they lend themselves to the modern traveler perfectly.
They make bags lighter, flights cheaper, and reduce the stress and hassle of global travel significantly (albeit while augmenting a fear of pickpocketing).
Breaking Down Language Barriers
A classic struggle for the traveler of yore was making sure that when they traveled, they made the most of each location they visited.
With global cultures so astonishingly diverse, no matter where you’re staying, it can often be difficult to source the best experiences, from cultural to culinary.
Simply asking a local shopkeeper or resident can be one of the best ways to source things to see and do, but language barriers can create problems.
This has been solved by apps like Google Translate, and a simple internet connection and TripAdvisor account means you can throw out the phrasebook, and leave behind the wild gestures and gradually-rising voices of the frustrated monolingual traveler.
Getting By, With a Little Help
Advice on what to do and where to go is also something most globetrotters now expect from their travel provider, whatever their budget.
The digitally-savvy and time-conscious traveler is no longer willing to land at a destination without knowing what to do in advance, or at least where to turn for some tips at the click of a button.
Concierges are no longer only found in the foyer of 5-star hotels, or provided solely by luxury property investment funds, but also on screens.
Apps and sites, along with in-house instant-messaging and email services provided by travel agents mean that no matter where you are, getting advice on how to make your stay unforgettable is never difficult.
The Whole World- Under One Roof
The booking process has been revolutionized and is a far cry from the administrative headache it used to be.
Travel agents and providers are now committing business suicide if they don’t allow customers to organize everything from flights and accommodation to transfers and insurance, on the same website or platform.
The very idea of having to book all of these things separately is enough to put off a modern traveler, and some reports cite this as the reason for the downfall of many high-street travel providers.
The Internet, and a growing demand (and expectation) for seamless convenience, has caused travel providers to rethink things.
This has led to the growth of industry giants like Airbnb who use the full potential of the web, technology, sharing economy, and social trends to offer holidays that can be organized without premeditation or hassle.
There’s a (Travel) App for That
The rise of smartphones is the most significant effect on the travel industry.
While portable technology like laptops have been around for years, nothing offers instantaneous functionality like a smartphone.
Of all the capabilities of these devices, for developers and travel providers alike the holy grail has been the inclusion of apps – which give the opportunity to pioneer new ways to make traveling easier.
There are too many different travel apps to list, but a few particularly revolutionary ideas include:
- Skiplagged: Helps users find ‘hidden’ stopover destinations on longer flights, which, when booked, are often cheaper than point-to-point journeys.
- Happy Cow: Sources vegan and vegetarian restaurants and eateries for travellers in some 10,500 cities globally.
- Google Trips: Allows users with a Google account or email to organise everything about their trip in one place, providing reminders and suggestions about places to go and things to do.
- Flight Stats: Simply and easily lets users track their flight details, including departure times, terminals and gate numbers, alleviating stress and freeing up time
The modern world advances quickly. It’s keep-up-or-die for most travel providers, agencies, and organizations.
The pressure is on for these businesses to find new ways to appeal to rapidly-developing demographics, but if the past 15 years are anything to go by, this has been happening spectacularly.
As for the next 15 years? It’s impossible to tell. As virtual and augmented reality transcends the realms of science fiction and becomes apart of modern life, perhaps this will be where the future of travel lies.
Or perhaps we’ll all be jetting around in Deloreans leaving flaming tire tracks in our wake.
Whatever the future holds, it’s exciting to think about where the modern world will take us.